Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 8, 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW TODD D. BURLAGE T he news hit like a blitzing line- backer and snowballed with a fe- rocity not fitting for a university ranked No. 1 in the country for its stu- dent-athlete graduation rate. "Academic fraud investigation" — three words no school ever wants to face, especially at Notre Dame. Three words that added another line item to a growing list of scholastic and legal headaches within the Irish football pro- gram. As a refresher course, junior KeiV- arae Russell, senior DaVaris Daniels, senior Ishaq Williams, grad student Kendall Moore and a week later senior Eilar Hardy — three key starters and two depth players, respectively — are being held out of all football activities while Notre Dame conducts an internal investigation into potential academic dishonesty. To Notre Dame's credit, university ad- ministrators wasted no time reporting their suspicions of students potentially not completing their own classwork to the NCAA. Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, CSC., and athletics di- rector Jack Swarbrick faced the media head on and fielded questions during an impromptu press conference the day the troubling media reports broke. "For every misstep," Swarbrick said, "we have hundreds of stories of young people who come here and take full advantage of the opportunity." The problem is, "missteps" within the football program seem to be happening more frequently. Coincidence? Perhaps and hopefully. But it's hard to ignore what appears to be a troubling pattern in and out of the classroom. Notre Dame officials have appropri- ately thrown their full support behind head coach Brian Kelly throughout the search for answers. And let's be clear, this is an investigation that could turn up very little or something more sinister. "We have great confidence in Brian and his staff," Jenkins said of his fifth- year skipper. The five Irish players involved de- serve respect and due process during this investigation. No wrongdoing has Isolated Incidences Or Potential Pattern, Answers Are Needed Head coach Brian Kelly said he tries to create an environment in which his players know they can't cut corners and will be held accountable. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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